Lombok Island in Indonesia is known for many attractions. The main ones are its pristine beaches that easily rival those in nearby Bali. Also well-known in Lombok are the surrounding Gila islands and the looming 3,726-meter high Mount Rinjani, which is an active volcano. On the slopes of Rinjani are three widely popular waterfalls, namely Air Terjun Sindang Gila, Air Terjun Tiu Kelep, and Air Terjun Betara Lenjang. Of these three, Tiu Kelep is second most popular.
LOMBOK AND ITS PEOPLE
Many consider Bali and Lombok twin islands since they offer the same attractions and are separated only by the Lombok Strait. There are three important differences, however. One, the Balinese people are Hindu-Buddhists while the Sasaks in Lombok are Muslims, and so they observe different events and festivals; two, the Balinese are more liberated while the Sasaks are very conservative, and so foreign tourists cannot enjoy wearing sexy swimsuits on Lombok beaches; and three, Bali is much more highly urbanized and overcrowded with tourists while Lombok is much more pristine and tranquil.
Also notable are Lombok’s local people – the Sasaks. Not much is known about the origin of these locals but they are believed to be direct descendants of the ancient Javanese people. Until today, they follow their old, traditional ways. Foreign tourists come to Lombok not only for the sights, sun, and sand, but also for the Sasaks.
AIR TERJUN TIU KELEP
Of the three Senaru waterfalls, the second most popular is Tiu Kelep. It is less spectacular than Sindang Gali and the climb is much more difficult. While it takes only 20 minutes to reach Sindang Gali’s summit, Tiu Kelep is still about 40 to 60 minutes further up. The climb involves crossing a creek, a steep ascent, stony paths and other natural obstacles. The path is definitely more adventurous and quiet than the one leading to Sindang Gali. The rigorous climb is worth it. Visitors are rewarded with a nice cool bath in the pool below. Also, there are fewer visitors to Tiu Kelep, and so tourists here get a feeling that they are in their own private waterfall. The drop is about 40 meters high.
To reach Tiu Kelep, one has to get to the traditional village of Senaru. Here, one also gets to see the majestic Mount Rinjani and other natural attractions within the area. Senaru is the gateway village leading to a number of amazing attractions. There are a few bungalows, homestays and restaurants within the vicinity and on the road to Senaru to keep visitors entertained. Tourists should try local Sasak dishes. They are very savory and spicy. In addition to the natural attractions, Senaru is also popular as the birthplace of the Wektu Telu religion, an unorthodox form of Islam that exists only in Lombok. While regular Islam belief is known as Wektu Lima, which means devotees pray five times day, followers of the Wektu Telu belief system prays three times only. This unique form of Islam embraces Hinduism, animism and pantheism.
Air Terjun Tiu Kelep and Senaru Village are not that far from the capital city of Mataram. By car, travelers may take the north coastal road then turn south to the town of Bayan. From there, Senaru is just about 8 km away; by bus, one has to take a 2-3-hour ride to Anyar and then take a bemo (local minivan) to Senaru; and by taxi, the fare is about Rp 300,000-400,000.
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